Stainless Steel Standards and Specifications

Terra customers often inquire about what type of steel is suggested for their product. In making a decision, one should also consider that not all 304 and 316 stainless steel is built to equal standards.

In the USA, the leading codes of standard practices for steel manufacturing are issued by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). The values stated in each system are not exact equivalents; therefore, each system must be used independently of the other. Combining values from the two systems may result in nonconformance with the specification

Structural Steel Specifications

The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) standards direct the US design community and construction industry. Documents in this collection set forth expectations for quality manufacturing, product certification, product standardization, and market development. The AISC Code of Standard Practice provides a framework for a common understanding of the acceptable standards when contracting for structural steel. These standards ensure customers that their steel purchase shall conform to the requirements of chemical composition and mechanical properties in a way that is easily understood and verifiable.

AISC steel specifications cover chromium, chromium-nickel, and chromium-manganese-nickel stainless steel plate, sheet, and strips for pressure vessels and general applications.

Non-Structural Steel Specifications

ASTM 240/ A240M-22a specification covers chromium, chromium-nickel, and chromium-manganese-nickel stainless steel plate, sheet, and strips for pressure vessels or general applications. The steel shall conform to the requirements as to the chemical composition specified. The material shall conform to the mechanical properties specified. This standard is issued under the fixed designation A 240/A 240M; the number immediately following the designation indicates the year of original adoption or, in the case of revision, the year of the last revision.

ASTM 240/ A240M-22a: Chromium / Chromium-Nickel Stainless Steel Plate, Sheet, and Strip for Pressure Vessels and General Applications

  • A370 | - Test Methods and Definitions for Mechanical Testing of Steel Products
  • A480 | A480M - Flat-Rolled Stainless and Heat-Resisting Steel Specification
  • A923 | Detecting Intermetallic Phase in Duplex Austenitic / Ferritic Steel
  • E112 | Test Methods for Determining Average Grain Size
  • E527 | Practice for Unified Numbering of Metals and Alloys
  • J1086 | Practice for Numbering Metals and Alloys

AISI 316L Stainless Steel

316L is also a mainstream steel choice for applications including pharmaceutical compounding, operating theaters, semiconductor fabrication, aerospace manufacturing, and food/beverage operations.

AISI 316L stainless is the world's most common type of steel used in medical device industries. Selecting 316L stainless steel minimizes particle generation and microbial growth, yet also stands up to regular sterilization with harsh biocides, including alcohol, quaternary ammonia, and high-level sterilants. AISI 316 L is also popular in dairy industries to thwart the release of metal materials such as metal ions, metal-binding proteins, and metal or metal oxide particles in the final product.

Note, that stainless steel does have some vulnerabilities to some chemicals such as bleach-based cleaners and disinfectants. Corrosion susceptibility of austenitic stainless steels will increase alongside the chloride concentration of a solution and frequency of use.

Terra Steel Equipment and Raw Steel Products

Terra Universal is a leading manufacturer of cleanroom equipment including cleanroom components, pass-through chambers, cleanroom tables, benches, laminar flow hoods, and more. Meanwhile, Terra also offers direct sourcing for high-quality raw metal materials including steel sheets, angle bars, tubing, pipe, and flat bar stock.

Terra metals vary between 304 / 304L and 316 / 316L, all of which are carefully curated, sourced, and certified under the following methods:

  • 1.1 Heat Analysis: C.S.N by AISI E1019-94, other by AISI E327-94 / E1086-94
  • 1.2 Tensile Test: AISI E8M-97
  • 1.3 Hardness Test: Thick > 1.2 mm by AISI E18-94, other by AISI E92-92

In addition, Terra steel is tested and certified to ensure the highest standards of durability, cleanability, corrosion resistance, and chemical compatibility, thus making them ideal for use in demanding environments such as cleanrooms and laboratories.

Terra's steel products ( are available in a range of different steel types and configurations to meet the needs of your facility.

Need Help Selecting the Right Steel for Your Application?

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Varmaziar, S., Atapour, M. & Hedberg, Y.S. Corrosion and metal release characterization of stainless steel 316L weld zones in whey protein solution. npj Mater Degrad 6, 19 (2022).

Yu, Yang et al. “Effect of chromium content on the corrosion resistance of ferritic stainless steels in sulfuric acid solution.” Heliyon vol. 4,11 e00958. 22 Nov. 2018, doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e00958